Knitting Traditions 2018: Queen’s Cross Church Capelet
To me, there’s no more romantic accessory than a capelet—it’s warm, elegant, and unusual all at once. Add allover cables and shaped hems, and my knitterly brain rejoices. I was already in love with Jenny Williams’s beautiful capelet from Knitting Traditions 2018 when I chose it for the magazine. Then I noticed a similarity between the cables on her design and a stained-glass window created by artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. That’s how the Queen’s Cross Church Capelet got its name.
Serendipity came knocking when I was working out how the articles and knitting projects complemented each other and the issue’s themes. The designer and I communicated quite a bit (a delightful part of my editing duties) as she refined the design and knit her sample. Jenny wanted the capelet to have an Art Nouveau feel, which perfectly suited my plans for the issue. Artists in this movement embraced all the decorative arts, as well as painting and sculpture. They loved curving, interlacing shapes that sometimes stayed simple and sometimes formed elaborate motifs. Yet even the most intricate Art Nouveau patterns look simpler and more organic than Victorian art. Jenny chose an unusual cable pattern—unusual because it’s less about the twists and more about lines coming together and moving apart—to decorate the capelet’s front and back.
Meanwhile, I was editing an article on Charles Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald for Knitting Traditions 2018. Author Bonnie Nadzeika describes their “Glasgow Style” of architecture and art as particularly influential on the Art Nouveau movement. During his distinguished career, Charles Mackintosh designed many public buildings and private houses. For all of them, and especially the churches, he wanted to honor Scotland’s medieval architecture. Yet of all his many church designs, only one was ever built: Queen’s Cross Church, with a stunning stained-glass window. Though Mackintosh’s window echoes medieval rose windows, he chose a pointed arch shape with crisscrossing lines instead of a circular shape in which lines radiated from the center. His unique pattern reminded me of the capelet’s cables. That was the moment Jenny’s design got its name. Knit this beautiful capelet for yourself.
DESIGNER Jenny Williams
FINISHED SIZE 36¼ (42¾, 51)” shoulder circumference. Capelet shown measures 42¾” on model with 34″ bust.
YARN Knit Picks Capra DK (85% Merino wool, 15% cashmere; 123 yd [112 m]/1¾ oz [50 g]): #26559 sagebrush, 8 (9, 12) balls.
NEEDLES Size 6 (4 mm): 40″ circular (cir). Size 4 (3.5 mm): two double-pointed (dpn). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
NOTIONS Markers (m); cable needle (cn); stitch holders; tapestry needle; one 1″ button.
GAUGE 29 sts and 30 rows = 4″ in charted patt on larger needle.